This Sunday, President Donald Trump shared a video in which one of his supporters yells “white power” at a protester. In the caption of the post, Trump thanks the supporters in the video, drawing no mention of the racist remark. The President took down the post only a few hours later, but not before hundreds of people took screenshots and screen-recordings of the racist chant. The controversy is just the latest in a pattern where this president has shown support for white supremacists.
Yet Another Racist Post
The 2-minute video shows a protest taking place at a Florida retirement community called The Villages. In the video, Trump supporters, riding in American flag-covered golf carts, yell at anti-Trump protesters. A few seconds into the video, a man in a passing golf cart yells “white power” twice at the protesters.
Trump tweeted the video with the caption, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!”
But Trump has dog-whistled white nationalist sentiment for years. In 2016, he shared a tweet from a Twitter handle called @WhiteGenocideTM. In 2017, after Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, where a counter-protester was killed, Trump commented that there were “very fine people on both sides.” And since the onset of recent demonstrations demanding racial justice, Trump has posted a number of inflammatory comments and misleading videos about Black Lives Matter.
Still, his recent tweet is perhaps his most overt thank-you note to white nationalists.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden compared Trump’s latest sign of tolerance for white supremacy to his response after Charlottesville. In 2017, a disjointed collection of white supremacist groups convened for what they called the “Unite the Right” rally in the Virginia city. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal who joined a large number of counter-protesters, died when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd.
But Trump refused to condemn the Neo-Nazis or white nationalists in the days following the tragedy. Instead, he insisted that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the incident.
Biden recalled this comment in decrying Trump’s most recent post. He tweeted in response,
“Today the President shared a video of people shouting ‘white power’ and said they were ‘great.’ Just like he did after Charlottesville. We’re in a battle for the soul of the nation – and the President has picked a side. But make no mistake: it’s a battle we will win.”
Trump’s Staff Does Damage Control
Trump has yet to comment on the post, which he has since deleted. His staff, however, spent Monday trying to quell the fires of controversy.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said, “President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.”
Not everyone is convinced.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, doesn’t care that Trump removed the Tweet. Appearing on Face the Nation this Sunday, she said, “This is really not about the president taking it down. This is about the judgment of the president and putting it up. It’s about what the president believes. And it’s time for this country to really face that.”
She later added, “I spent the first few years of this presidency with reporters asking me questions over and over again about whether, in fact, the president was racist and whether he supported white supremacist ideologies. I’m through answering that question because the president answers it himself and he did this morning.”